Memoir

WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

Just finished reading WORKING CLASS BOY the first instalment of the story of James Dixon Swan, aka – Jimmy Barnes. As usual I am about six months behind the times, the book was published to much fanfare last year, ironically when Barnsey was doing publicity for the book at various venues in Sydney I was in Glasgow. In a pub, about ten minutes from Cowcaddens, the rough area that Barnes lived in until the age of five.  That’s just how life is sometimes, but back to the real story.

Barnes’ home life in both Glasgow and Elizabeth, SA (where he spent most of his youth) was shambolic, the family lived in poverty and violence was commonplace. The stories he tells make your hair stand on end, the two bottles of vodka a day that became a regular feature of his later life start making sense. His substance abuse was not the usual garden variety abuse of the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll crowd. Barnes was in need of more anesthetizing, to banish the memories of his troubled upbringing. Yet he tells it with such candour and humour that the reader is drawn in to the grey streets of Glasgow and South Australia willingly and we are happy to take the journey with him, and to some pretty dark places. Continue reading WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

BRITISH WRITER AND CRITIC A.A.GILL POURS OUT HIS LIFE INTO A BOOK

Pour Me
The author at his writing desk. Photo credit- JEREMY YOUNG/REX SHUTTERSTOCK

“There was a green carpet…the colour of algae, the damp green of penicillin. I remember how it smelt, it was like a living thing, the pelt of something that hid terrified and shivering. The bed was big. It smelt like it had been having rough, non consensual sex with the carpet.”

Such are the real estate reminiscence of A.A.Gill’s early digs when he was an alcohol addled student painter. Such is the tone of his memoir, POUR ME : A LIFE.

One of the reasons of writing the book of his life, Gill assures us, is that he can’t really remember any of it – childhood, school, holidays, friends, drinking.

The act of writing, of tapping keys, might jog something, lead back to clues, digging a hole to discover his young self. Continue reading BRITISH WRITER AND CRITIC A.A.GILL POURS OUT HIS LIFE INTO A BOOK